Facts About Divorce’s Impact on Children

20 Aug


  •  About 40 percent of all children in the United States today are children of divorced parents; 20 to 25 percent of them show signs that they are not dealing well with this change in their family structure and are at risk for negative outcomes, including substance abuse.


  • Children of divorced parents are more likely to engage in substance use and have substance-using friends than children from two-parent homes.


  • In one study, 54 percent of sixth and seventh graders with divorced parents use alcohol compared to 36 percent of children with parents who never divorced.


  • Forty-nine percent of premarital cohabitations are likely to break up within 5 years, compared to 10 percent of those in a first marriage; 62 percent of cohabitations end after 10 years, while the chance of a first marriage ending at that point is 33 percent.


  • In 2005, an estimated 680,000 youths (2.7 percent) aged 12 to 17 had ever been in foster care.


  • Youths who have ever been in foster care had higher rates of past year use of any illicit drug than those who were never in foster care (33.6 vs. 21.7 percent). The rate of past year alcohol use was similar for these two groups.


  • Youths who have ever been in foster care had higher rates of need for substance abuse treatment than youths who have never been in foster care. More youths who have ever been in foster care were in need of treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use in the past year (17.4 percent) compared with youths who have never been in foster care.


  • Two out of three children placed in foster care are reunited with their birth parents within 2 years. But a significant number spend long periods of time in foster care while waiting for adoption or other permanent arrangements


  • The Orphan Foundation of America estimates that more than 25,000 foster youth age out of State care or run away every year. (Estimates from several other government and private sources range from 20,000 to 30,000.)


  • In the only nationally representative study of youth discharged from foster care that has been published (1991, based on 1988 data), 39 percent were emotionally disturbed, 50 percent had used illegal drugs, and 25 percent were involved with the legal system.
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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